What do you need for a Homebirth vs. Hosptial Birth

One of the most common questions I get from mostly first time parents is ” What do we need to pack?”. At the end of the day really dont worry too much, less is more in most cases and the odds are you will probably use only 1/3 of what you pack. It is always good to be prepared so here are my lists.


Homebirth Supplies

Because planning a homebirth is different for every person this is just an example of how I am planning mine. I plan on using my shower/bathtub for water therapy (if needed), birthing in our living room near our couch, catching my own baby in a squatting position. Keeping my wishes simple on how I would like to birth. My midwifes gave a list of what to have on hand, most on the list I already had in our home.

  • Bath Towels (about 6, I took out all our old ones that we don’t use)
  • Washcloths (6, again took out our extra ones that we dont use much)
  • Hand Towels (I added these as the size is perfect for cold compress on backs)
  • Pads (I have many different sizes, in the photo above I just show a few, however I have a package of each type)
  • Adult Diapers (not in photo)
  • Garbage Bag ( I have only one for all garbage, the suggestion was two. One for linens as well)
  • Wet Bag (for linens, if your more eco aware)
  • 2 Ziplock bags (this is for the placenta. Make sure they are not the breathable type)
  • A glass or metal shallow mixing bowl (for the placenta, I have a loaf pan as thats what they used with my second)
  • a oral thomoniter (extra battery)
  • Hot Water Bottle (I achualy have three)
  • Flashlight (Extra batteries)
  • Tylenol and Advil

What we ended up using:

  • Towels….lots of towels!
  • Hot water bottle (so good for the stomach afterwards to help with the pain from your uterus contracting)
  • Cold packs (the flexible type)
  • Ziplock bags
  • Garbage bags
  • Adult diapers
  • Padcicles
  • Hand towels and bowl for cold water and ice
  • Flashlight
  • Tylenol and Advil
Photo by Vancouver Birth Photographer at our third Childs homebirth.


Planning to birth in a hospital, luckily you won’t be packing much unless you really want to bring something.

What to bring with you:

What to pack in the hospital bag?

  • Pen and paper or little notebook 
  • Your birth plan (if you have one)
  • Your insurance card and Care Card
  • Your phone and charger
  • Your favorite pillow (both parents)
  • Hair clips or hair ties and a brush
  • Snacks for both parents (birthed may not be allowed to eat during labour)
  • Water Bottles ( one with a straw is best for birthed)
  • Diversions for a long labor: books, music, puzzles, magazines, a deck of cards, laptop, handheld electronic games
  • A camera (or just use your phone)
  • Massage oils or lotions (like hand cream)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Your main essential toiletry items (shampoo, facecloth, soap…)
  • Extra-absorbent maxi pads (the hospital will provide some, but it’s good to have a few extra)
  • Nightgown or PJs, socks and slippers
  • Comfortable outfit to head home in
  • Going-home outfit for baby and a few NB diapers. 
  • Prenatal vitamins

Photo by Matthew Elder at the birth of our first born.